NORTH Some 60 people of all ages showed up at Havat Noy Botanical Gardens last week for a bird banding demonstration, the practice of catching and then individually tagging or banding each bird with a numbered tag placed around its leg, and to tour the manicured grounds.Havat Noy is located between Netanya and Hadera in the Hefer Valley, and contains a large and eclectic collection of mature plants from all over the world that have been adapted for gardens in Israel. The garden was established in 1949 as an experimental growing station for ornamental plants. The 5-hectare (12-acre) natural area attracts a wide variety of birds and was an ideal location for last week’s demonstration. Before releasing the bird back to nature, the bird is weighed and measured and other data about it are gathered. If the bird is caught again, the number on the tag is entered into a database, and the previously gathered information is accessible.The demonstration at Havat Noy was led by Eli Atar, a senior ornithologist and the manager of the bird banding station at Ma’agan Michael.After a lecture on the subject participants spread nets to catch birds, caught birds, recorded data on them, banded them and released them. Around 40 birds were banded and released.Hezi Mula, the manager of the botanical garden, was thrilled by the strong turnout. He told The Jerusalem Post there will be another banding event in December, but that the garden is also open seven days a week and admission is free.More information on Havat Noy can be found at www. havatnoy.co.il or on the Havat Noy Facebook page.Hanukkia exhibition on display until end of month in Acre Hanukka may be behind us, but an impressive exhibition of hanukkiot will be on display at the “Treasures in the Wall” Ethnographic Museum in Acre until the end of December.The hanukkiot are all made in Israel and from the 1940s to 1970s, from the collection of Michael Lurie. The styles are wide-ranging, with traditional and modern examples represented. The exhibition demonstrates some of the fine industrial ceramics that were produced in Israel up until the 1970s.The museum’s permanent collection is comprised of a large number of objects produced in Israel over the last 100 years.The museum is located inside the northeastern walls of Acre’s Old City, and is open six days a week between 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; on Fridays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tel: (04) 991-1004.Youth dies in Hadera traffic accident A 15-year-old died Monday evening after he was struck by a vehicle on Highway 3, adjacent to the village of Beit Hilkiya near Hadera. Magen David Adom paramedics attempted to resuscitate the youth, but pronounced him dead at the scene.CENTER Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel marks 60 years The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is set for an event-filled month in December. Two of those events will take place in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.On December 16, SPNI will mark its 60th birthday with its sixth Jerusalem Environmental Conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.The conference will be held under the banner, “Nature in Israel, Where to?” Ecology and environmental protection experts from Israel and around the world will participate, and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz is scheduled to give the opening address.The conference is open to all interested members of the public.In Tel Aviv, SPNI will hold a workshop on December 17 on the role of the local community in protecting nature. The workshop will take place at the scenic Tel Aviv University Botanical Gardens.SPNI says that the purpose of the meeting is for environmental activists to exchange ideas on the promotion of community action for environmental protection.A special guest at the workshop will be Gildas Andriamalala, who will be discussing examples of environmental community action in Madagascar.Andriamalala, who is from the African country, is part of Blue Ventures, a scientific social enterprise that works with coastal communities to develop locally led marine conservation initiatives.The lectures will be in English, but the group discussions will be conducted in Hebrew.Fire in Petah Tikva Eight people were lightly injured on Monday evening, in a fire that broke out in a four-story apartment building in Petah Tikva. Firefighters worked to extinguish the fire and rescue any trapped residents. Magen David Adom paramedics treated the injured individuals at the scene.SOUTH Agricultural research station near Ashkelon opens its doors to public MOP Darom, the agricultural research station near Ashkelon, will be holding an open house on December 17 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.Guests will be welcomed into the station’s greenhouses and learn about experiments from the scientists. In addition to lectures that will be open to the public, there will be a large agricultural exhibition with the leading companies in Israel represented.MOP Darom is the first regional agricultural research station established in Israel. Its original purpose was to support development of agriculture for Jewish settlements in the northern Sinai Peninsula.More information on the open house can be found at www.mopdarom.org.il.Kav LaOved scores victory for Arava farm workers Last month, farm workers in the Arava started to receive the minimum wage, thanks to the efforts of workers’ rights organization Kav LaOved.Kav LaOved reported that last summer, it traveled to the southern region on many occasions to gather data from workers on their conditions and pay. The NGO learned that many of the workers were not earning the minimum wage, NIS 23.11 per hour. Kav LaOved reported that this illegal employment is endemic in the agricultural sector as a whole.After gathering the data, Kav LaOved sent a letter detailing the rights violations to the head of the agriculture committee in the area.Fearing that lawsuits would be brought against them, the farmers in the Arava agreed to pay the workers – many of whom are Thai nationals – minimum wage.According to Noa Shauer, agricultural workers coordinator at Kav LaOved, most of the farmers in Israel still succeed in getting away with not paying minimum wage to workers. The exception to this practice is on kibbutzim, where laborers are generally paid according to law.